Return to Private: monks of St Benedict’s Abbey, Ealing in London

Ealing Abbey site – geology, geography, biology

Geology, geography, biology


The original land surface was some 350 to 350 to 400 ft 500px-Geological_map_of_London_Basin(110 to 120 m) above the current sea level. The surface had sandy deposits from an ancient sea, laid over sedimentary clay (this is the Blue London Clay). All the erosion down from this higher land surface and sorting action by these changes of water flow and direction, formed what is known as the Thames River Gravel Terraces. Since Roman times and perhaps earlier, however, the isostatic rebound from the weight of previous ice sheets, and its interplay with the eustatic change in sea level, means that the old valley of river Brent, together with that of the Thames, has been silting up again. Thus along much of the Brent’s present day course one can make out the water meadows of rich alluvium, which is augmented by frequent floods.


A History of the site.
Two streams, later hidden by housing, Springused to run southward on either side of Ealing village in the mid 19th century. The westerly stream ran from Castlebar Hill east of Northfield Avenue to Little Ealing, where it used to feed ponds at Ealing Park; farther south it followed the line of Brook Road before passing under Brentford High Street and entering the Thames near Ferry Lane.



Underground spring

There is a line of surface springs from St Stephens Road, Castlebar Road, Eaton Rite. The water has been put in culverts and now goes into the sewer system. One spring is located underneath Overton House at 74, Castlebar Road. It would be great to bring the water to the surface and create a small stream.


There are several yew trees (Taxus baccata) on the Ealing Abbey site. The yew is considered a sacred tree and is often associated with pagan and Christian sacred sites and has been revered and used by humankind throughout the ages. All races of the Northern Hemisphere, especially the Celts, the Greeks, the Romans and the North American Indians, have a powerful understanding of this unusual and remarkable tree. Because of its longevity and its unique way of growing new trunks from within the original root bole. The yew is associated with immortality, renewal, regeneration, everlasting life, rebirth, transformation and access to the Otherworld and our ancestors.

Other monuments: There is a labyrinth on the lawn of Overton House at 74, Castlebar Road, on the corner with Montpelier Avenue.

Benedictine Institute

© Ealing Abbey, copyright 22 May 2014